Democracy Has Prevailed.

August 5, 2012

The Trib Fails To Disclose. Again.

But this time in a news feature.

It's one thing for Scaife's braintrust to fail to disclose his financial support for the conservative think tanks it's using as source material on the editorial page (and that's bad enough) but for the news division to do so, well, it's almost as if these old blurbs from Brill's Content from 2001 are still true:
According to interviews with 21 current and former employees at the Tribune-Review, Scaife frequently pushes his political and personal agendas into the paper, often misleading readers in the process. "As a reporter, I want to make a solid argument that my reporting is objective," says one staffer at a Scaife-owned paper. "I don't think I have the high moral ground to do that anymore."
Not only has Scaife occasionally suited news coverage to his taste, he has done it in a way that leaves readers unaware of his tinkering. He pushes the paper to run stories that rely on quotes or reports from organizations he funds, yet the articles rarely disclose Scaife's connection. The result is a kind of "information laundering," as one former reporter calls it. When a Scaife-inspired article that quotes a Scaife-funded foundation is published in the Tribune-Review, the story appears more reputable than it otherwise would.
But let's get down to specifics.  Specifically this article (it's on the front page, by the way), titled:
GOP group focused on policy, not party
Which group?  Let's see:
A conservative interest group is working to “improve the gene pool” in Congress, a spokesman said.

But the typical target of this group is unusual: Republicans.

The Washington-based Club for Growth often targets GOP lawmakers who stray from a conservative philosophy on tax, spending and free-trade issues. Its willingness to take on Republicans in primaries sets it apart.
Ah, the Club for Growth.  And guess what the reporter fails to mention?
  • Scaife donated $50,000 to the Club for Growth Action in 2010.
  • Scaife donated $75,000 to the Citizens Club for Growth in 2003.
  • Scaife donated $50,000 to the Citizens Club for Growth in 2004.
  • Scaife donated $25,000 to the Citizens Club for Growth Inc in 2005.
That's 200,000 reasons why there should have been a mention.  But let's dig further.

First there's this:
In 2004, Toomey came within 17,000 votes of beating Sen. Arlen Specter in a Republican primary even though the GOP establishment, including President George W. Bush and then-Sen. Rick Santorum, supported Specter.

The Club considered Specter a Republican-in-name-only, or “RINO,” and a liberal Republican who had to go, said Barney Keller, Club’s spokesman. By 2010, Specter changed his party registration to Democrat and lost the primary to former Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak. Toomey, who was the Club’s president from 2005 through 2009, defeated Sestak in the general election. The Club for Growth spent $2.6 million on Toomey’s behalf.
Do we need to discuss the $21,000 Scaife donated to Toomey For Senate between 2003 and 2009?

Then there's these two references:
Club-backed Republican Sharon Angle, who won a three-way primary but lost in 2010 to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid...
The Club helped challenger Richard Mourdock defeat veteran GOP Sen. Richard Lugar...
Do I need to point out Scaife's support of Angle in 2006 ($2100) and Mourdock in 2012 ($2500)?

All that money and no mention of it?

I guess Scaife's influence on the Tribune-Review's news coverage continues.

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